Monday, March 31, 2003

McGovern Warns of U.S. Aggression

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that former U.S. Senator and 1976 Presidential candidate George McGovern believes that the White House is planning invasions of North Korea and Iran after the current campaign in Iraq is concluded. JS Online: U.S. planning more invasions, McGovern says "Even now, these wars are being planned by the current administration," McGovern said. "I'm positive, based on conversations with people close to the White House, that plans are in place for the next invasions." McGovern was a history professor before he became a senator, and president of the Middle East Policy Council from 1991 to 1998. Now 80 years old, he has no personal agenda...just deep, deep concern at what he is seeing and hearing.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Making Music with my Daughter

Last night was Duet Night at the Ann Farber Studio, where my daughter Julia studies piano. She has just gotten back into lessons again, after eight months off (no piano) while we lived in Australia. We played two short pieces by Kohler, and although we knew the pieces very well, we both felt quite nervous. I was so pleased to see Julia muster her concentration and play with great confidence and musicality. Fortunately Mom mastered her stage fright as well, so she didn't mess it up! The magical thing was the intuitive communication between us --- essential in performing a duet successfully. Numerous people commented on how they enjoyed seeing the tight, nonverbal synchronicity of us playing together. She felt great about it, and sat through the whole evening holding my hand - something she doesn't do much in public anymore. We felt so close to each other. A wonderful evening.

HTML - You won't believe where I'm learning it!

NeoPets has an excellent beginner HTML guide - it got me going, quickly and painlessly.
The NeoPets HTML Guide Check it out.
If you want to see my pets while you're there, you can do a User Lookup. In the Search box in the yellow bar on the left, type booradley21.

Back in the US of A

Having been outside of the country for a full week, I'm struck by the over-wrought tone of the American media covering the WAR IN IRAQ! The coverage is omnipresent and the push for ratings is obvious in the urgent "updates" that really contain nothing new. Even my local news radio station, WCBS, gives the time like this: "It's 6pm. That's 2am in Baghdad." It makes me remember why most of my American television colleagues didn't attend the French media conference I just returned from. The tone of the coverage makes it feel very dangerous out there....and by "out there," I mean everywhere. Even here. People are stressed out, particularly in New York.

Saturday, March 29, 2003


Yahoo! News - Boondocks I love Aaron McGruder's perspective and art; the "Doonesbury" of our times, although he's not yet awarded that distinction, and is accused at times of being racist. I don't see it that way - I just think the dominant culture isn't used to being probed by such an incisive minority voice. Love this guy.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

From Provence

This trip I'm staying in Mougins - the ancient, mountaintop village that overlooks Cannes. It was a beautiful spring morning, and I started the day with a walk. The streets, lit by copper-hooded lamps, are so narrow that only one car can pass, almost touching the walls on either side. A little further up toward the center of the village, a car can't even fit - just motorbikes. The buildings are many hundreds of years old - tiny houses not more than 15 feet wide, built of either stone and mortar, or stucco frescoed in "couleurs Provencal." Every window has weatherbeaten wooden shutters, and foliage spills out of terra cotta flowerpots clinging all the way up the sides of the buildings. Many of the houses have been converted to art galleries. It's a magical place to walk and browse, with smell of lavender rising and mourning doves cooing in the gnarled branches overhead.

I turned one corner and came across a paticularly charming stone house. As is the custom here, the street number was hand-painted on a porcelain plaque next to the front door. This particular house also displayed a second plaque with small, neat letters that read "Chien Lunatique"....the most delicate, tasteful "Beware of Dog" sign I've ever seen!

The Netherlands Weighs In

This note is from my friend Thé Lau in Amsterdam. He is a recording artist and poet, so I've been eager to hear his thoughts on the current world situation.

At the moment I'm often invited by tv and radio-programmes to comment on this situation. What I always tell them is, listen, I think there are many Americans. In 40 years there have been 3 Texan presidents, all of whom were at war. Bush, when watching him speak (and joke) does not resemble any American I know. This might well turn out to be a new Vietnam; I remember Henry Kissinger saying 'I refuse to believe that a third-rate nation like North Vietnam can resist a superpower like the US.'

They did.

Unfortunately people like that are in power, not only in your country. It affects the whole world. These arrogant hawks. Believe me, a huge amount of Europeans can still discern, they dislike Bush, and Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitsch and all the others, but they don't dislike Americans in general.

Let's pray for those poor GI's, who have to do a stupid job, and in case things go wrong will not be thanked for it, whom nobody blames but everybody pities.


Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - War Produces Rift in Media Between U.S., Other Nations

It's worth checking out this story, from today's edition of the European Wall Street Journal.

When a U.S. general in Qatar recently condemned the televised pictures of captured American troops....British television reporter Geoff Meade asked the officer what he would say to Iraqis and other Muslims who might welcome such images.

Some U.S. reporters looked stunned at the aggressiveness of the question. A hush fell on the room. The general eyed him coldly and parried the query. Afterward, says Mr. Meade, a veteran correspondent with Sky News, a service of British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, "Somebody joked to me that I'd find myself at the back of the room along with the French and the Germans."

While voicing "great respect" for U.S. journalism, he says the British media tend to be "more robust, a little more barbed" in covering the news. U.S. journalists, he adds, are loath to risk their front-row seats by posing tough questions, "whether in Qatar or the White House."

British Perspective

Annie, my friend from London, has a unique point of view on the current world situation, in several respects. As she learned at her mum`s knee, "America is family - we will always be there when you ask us for help, as you were there for us in the two World Wars. We'll never forget that. That isn't to say that there won't be anything to talk about later....believe me, we'll be talking about what you've gotten us into!" She added that the French and the Germans..."well, they're our neighbours, and we do try our best to get along with our neighbours. But, you're different. You're family."

She also opined that the world might as well acknowledge that we're living at the height of the American Empire. "I know, you don't like to hear that word applied to the United States. But that's what you are. You may not have sent armies in to conquer other nations, but you've done it with your corporations. We might as well acknowledge it and start asking the real question, which is how the world can get the United States to live up to its imperial responsibilities." If you know Annie Miles, you know that this train of thought went on for quite some time. A very thought-provoking discussion, indeed.

Les français e Gli Italiani

Today is a quiet day on the war front - activity is stalled due to dust storms. So, the networks are doing background coverage. It was so interesting to flip back and forth between stations to see how the French and the Italians led their evening news. The French angle was "Irak: La Guerre de L`Info" ---"Iraq: The War of Information"....a very controversial topic here in Europe. They presented a roundtable of serious talking heads debating the validity of American war coverage, which many here feel is simply propaganda. The Italian angle was "La Guerre Delle Mamme" --- "The war of the mothers." They did an emotional story about an NYC peace demonstration led by mothers of U.S. soldiers, with many heartfelt "mother on the street" interviews. The two cultures could not be more different, and it was perfectly illustrated by these two different takes on the events of the day.

Investigating the Oil Cartel

German United Distributors announced here in Cannes that they have sold a one-hour topical program called The Cartel, "investigating US president George Bush's connections to the stateside oil barons." The program has been picked up on a non-exclusive basis by a trio of French national networks, including TF1 and France5. "It's an unusual deal as programme sales are normally exclusive territory-by-territory," said GUD's Managing Director, Silke Spahr. This program is available to American buyers here, as well. I'd love to have someone pick it up, for American audiences to see/hear a European perspective.

Monday, March 24, 2003

War Protesting

Before leaving New York, Chris, Jules and I went to the Peace demonstration in New York City. It was a great day - sunny, spring-like weather...drums beating, chants raised, by a large, enthusiastic crowd. Jules is only eleven, and after we'd gotten ourselves situated among the hundres of thousands of demonstrators, she asked "So, what do we do?" I responded "This is it. You are protesting by standing here and being counted." And I was glad to be able to show her that it is indeed possible to support and pray for the safety of our soldiers while still objecting to waging the war itself.

I went straight from the march to the airport, and was having lunch with my friend Rolf from Munich what felt like just a few hours later. His big question is "what next?" Seeing the U.S. so comfortable in the role of an aggressor...people are shocked, and wondering where it stops...whom do we move against next?

We`ve done so much damage to our reputation as a model democracy based on hard won and inviolate principles of democracy and human rights. Once we`ve thrown that out the window, what next, indeed?

I was sitting in my room last night with a choice of either French or Italian news, struggling to follow the fine details of two very complex stories...the Muslim American Marine who ambushed his fellow soldiers as they slept, and the Al Jazeerah footage of our American POWs. The latter was particularly frustrating because (of course) the French announcer was translating over their voices, when I wanted so much to hear what they were saying in their own words. The translation paused for a moment, and I heard a soldier say "I`m sorry, I can`t understand you." I also heard "New Jersey." I cannot even imagine what it must be like for their families to see this footage.

I can understand why Al Jazeerah is broadcasting this footage. After the unending hours of CNN coverage of the triumphant American "March to Baghdad," American and British officers talking matter-of-factly about Iraqi troops showing no resistance, and "superior" American technology that has blanketed the airwaves (in the Gulf War, too) it has to feel unbelievably powerful to be able to broadcast the other side of the story to the Arab world....indeed, to all of us. The war of images is very sobering. I can only hope that seeing the reality of war will dampen everyone`s enthusiasm for combat as a solution of choice, rather than necessity.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Bon Jour

It's Sunday morning in Cannes. I think my entries from here will be pretty short - I forgot how annoying it is to type on a French keyboard - different configuration. Here's what the previous sentence would have looked like if I typed it using the keys I'm used to:

I think ,y entries fro, here zill be pretty short à I forgot hoz qnnoying it is to type on q French keyboqrd à different configurqtion:

More lqter:

Friday, March 21, 2003

War is On - I am Traveling

I will be posting for the next week from France, where I'm attending the MIP-TV conference. I was supposed to go with (and have my trip paid for by) Sesame Workshop. They, like many American companies, have cancelled out of MIP because of the war. I couldn't even imagine not going - so, I'm going on my own. I've downsized my accomodations, and I'll be there Sunday morning.

I have such a yearning to be with my European's hard to put a finger on exactly why. I suppose partly because I feel like my country has abandoned its principles.... we're acting as aggressors, instead of protectors. And, all the Americans who are meant to be at this conference are suddenly afraid to be in Europe, home of the people who refused to sanction this aggressive action in the first place! I can't bear to be one of those Americans. I want to show my face and speak with the voice of the many, many Americans who don't support this action taken in our names. As Susie said from Sydney, the world needs to hear that alternative American view as a shout. This is my shout...soon to be coming your way from the Cote D'Azur. Ciao.

Bombs over Baghdad

The skies over Baghdad were lit up tonight with anti-aircraft fire and hundreds of exploding bombs and missiles. "Shock and Awe" has begun in earnest.

Spoke briefly to Marijke in Amsterdam, and then received this email from her.
Don't be sorry to be an American
Neither am I sorry to be European, although I should!
we all do wrong
Let's just be human, now and forever
Pray for the kids in Iraq and their families.........

Kiss your family
and hope/pray for a more civilised world

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Light a Candle for Peace

When you are feeling discouraged, I guarantee this will make you feel better!

Light A Candle For Peace

The Big Melt

The Big Melt

This is a time of year that makes me wish I could slough my skin entire, like a snake, just walk away from that old integument and step out new into the air. Humans thrive on the metaphors of rebirth and regeneration, and the trouble is that they're nearly always only metaphors. But it's the actuality of spring that overwhelms us. Every hour peels back another layer of snow and shrinks the dominion of ice. The ground gives, and the sap streams upward. The finches molt into their mating colors. I walk out among it all and find myself hoping to change with the season, too.


I shall believe in sorrow when it comes
like the first down-wandering of snow,
laying its drift of shadow on my heart,
hugging against the hedges of my soul,
gathering on the lintel of my door.
Its wide and still possession of the air
I shall acknowledge as necessity
and pray and pray, not for an early spring
but for the harvest that the year must bring.

By Jane Tyson Clement

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

The Presidential Prayer Team

The Presidential Prayer Team

I am speechless, having just viewed a website called "The Presidential Prayer Team." The whole idea of waging a war and pressing specific political positions in the name of God is beyond offensive. And, despite all the lip service paid to "liberating the people of Iraq," there is not one word of support or prayer for the people of Iraq, who are being subjected unrelenting stress, on this website....only prayer for American soldiers.

If I were a Jewish or Muslim parent trying to raise well-adjusted kids who are contributing citizens, I would be so discouraged to see this site.

We need to get this guy out of the White House, and refocus our country on a secular agenda that includes all people, and that recognizes our position as one among many stewards of the earth, the environment, and the fragile peace that we've nurtured with our allies over the past 40 years. This kind of a website, under presidential auspices, is completely unacceptable to me.



Political cartoonist Mark Fiore does animated commentary on the internet. He's always good - this one is a beauty!

Monday, March 17, 2003

The Pursuit of Liberty.....

The Patriot Act, passed in reaction to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, gives the FBI and other federal agencies broad new powers to track down suspected terrorists by demanding records of books sold from bookshops and borrowed from libraries. Previously, Federal agents needed a court order to ask for records of books purchased or borrowed by a specific individual believed to be a security risk. Under the Patriot Act, the FBI can make a general request for customer lists, so that they can see who is reading what. According to a study by the University of Illinois' Library Research Center, 11% of the public libraries in the United States have received a request for member borrowing records since September 11, 2001.

Generally, I think the privacy advocates get a little carried away. People who refuse to use EZ-Pass at highway toll booths because they don't want the government "knowing their movements" seem silly to me. If you're not breaking the law, you don't have anything to worry about. I like the convenience of using EZ-Pass on the highway, and don't worry about the fact that there is a record of my movement in a computer file somewhere.

However, the Patriot Act feels more invasive, in a scary way. I started thinking about what I'm reading right now. Hmmmm.....likely to be a problem if someone cared to look. There are three books on my bedside table. THE QUR'AN: AN INTRODUCTION, by Mohammed Abu-Hamdiyyah. Since I believe that we must engage in dialogue to try to solve the current schism between the Muslim world and the U.S., I am seeking understanding. THE TALE OF ONE BAD RAT, by Bryan Talbot - a graphic novel about a girl trying to come to terms with having been an incest victim. A partner and I are considering pitching an adaptation of this book as a youth-oriented film. SMALL WONDER: ESSAYS, by Barbara Kingsolver - many of these pieces were written in response to the events of September 11, and focus on the growing social and economic inequities that she feels contributed to these events. Heck, I subscribe to a daily emailed devotional from, who would technically be considered a "religious sect," if one was looking for a suspicious pattern.

U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders (Indep-Vt.) has filed a bill in the House of Representatives called the Freedom to Read Protection Act. It would restore the requirement for federal agents to produce a specific warrent at to bookstores and libraries. Sanders' bill would also require government agencies to report to Congress regularly on how many bookstores and libraries have been subjected to searches for records and what the searches have yielded that has actually reduced the threat of terrorism. I'm certainly going to let Sue Kelly, my congresswoman, know that I'd like her to vote YES on this bill!

I received this from Michael in Sydney, in response to the email I sent to his son Jack at the start of the war (posted 3/16).

Dear Liz.

I am in tears.

This is so wonderful for you to write this to the youngest member of our family and the one who will be around the longest to live with whatever comes out of this.

This is such a hard time for all of us but so hard for you all in the US.

Please know that you have our love, always, and that our thoughts will be with you through every moment of the coming days.

Let us hope that those of us who have peace in our hearts can win over those who see conflict as inevitable.

Howard (Australian Prime Minister John Howard) has been on television tonight saying that he is waiting for the call from Bush to formally ask for our assistance. There is no doubt that he will say yes though that is so far from the mood of the country. We don't take kindly to being an instrument of American foreign policy and I think that even Howard is no longer comfortable with this but he can't extricate himself. One of our commentators said that we don’t like someone in a cowboy hat invoking the power of the almighty. We don't and I know that you don't either. He calls our PM "Mr Echo."

When I was in the US with you, I told Susie that there was such a strong feeling against war in the America I came into contact with. She asked me then to let people know to shout harder because through all the bluster it is so hard to hear that message. This is such a shout. Pass it on to everyone you know outside the US and it will spread.

With love,


Sunday, March 16, 2003

I find myself sneaking peeks at the "cheap airline ticket" offers - wanting get on a plane and be with my friends in Europe or Australia. It is such a momentous time for all of us and I'm longing to be in dialogue outside of the U.S. I feel less and less connected to the discourse here, where no one even bothers to listen to or read the actual facts. A CBS/NY Times poll last weekend found that 42% of Americans think we're going to war with Iraq because Saddam Hussein is directly and personally responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center. 42%! And, it's not that they can't know the facts. I listened to all of the members of the U.N. Security Council respond last week to Hans Blix's latest report (in translation, of course) on NPR. No one bothers to listen. No world view. I'm sick of the ignorance, and dying to talk to sit down in a smoky cafe and TALK.

In lieu of being able to be there, I decided to write to two of the sons of my friends, whom I know are terribly concerned about the current world situation and very articulate on the subject as well. This is the email I sent tonight to Max, the 14-year-old son of my old friends Thé and Marijke in Amsterdam, and Jack, the 8-year-old son of my friends Michael and Susie in Sydney.

Hi, Max. It's Sunday night, and Chris, Julia and I just got home from participating in the worldwide candlelight peace vigil. We had a good-sized group at the little traffic circle in Cornwall. Did you do it in Amsterdam? I'm not sure if we can stop this planned military action, but it feels good to stand up and be counted.

I guess you know that many, many Americans don't agree with President Bush and his advisors...about the war, or about how harshly they are speaking of our European allies who don't happen to agree with our approach. Our family feels great solidarity with our friends around the world and share your sadness and concern about what is happening. We will continue to express our voices of dissent here in America, and thank you for loving us, despite the wrong-headed ignorance of the opinions being expressed by our leaders right now.

On the eve of war, we are thinking of you, Oskar, your mother and father, and keeping you in our prayers. I know you are doing the same for us.



My friend Phil forwarded this, which came from his friend at Rust and Associates. It certainly makes one look at the current world situation in a different way.

Dr. Robert Muller, 80 years old, is the former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, now Chancellor emeritus of the University of Peace in Costa Rica. He was one of the people who witnessed the founding of the U.N. and has worked in support of or inside the U.N. ever since. This is a synopsis of his remarks at a recent U.N. event.

I'm so honored to to be alive at such a miraculous time in history, he said. I'm so moved by what's going on in our world today. Never before in the history of the world has there been a global, visible, public, viable, open dialogue and conversation about the very legitimacy of war.

The whole world is in now having this critical and historic dialogue - listening to all kinds of points of view and positions about going to war or not going to war. In a huge global public conversation the world is asking - "Is war legitimate? Is it illegitimate? Is there enough evidence to warrant an attack? Is there not enough evidence to warrant an attack? What will be the consequences? The costs? What will happen after a war? How will this set off other conflicts? What might be peaceful alternatives? What kind of negotiations are we not thinking of? What are the real intentions for declaring war?"

All of this,
he noted, is taking place in the context of the United Nations Security Council, the body that was established in 1949 for exactly this purpose. He pointed out that it has taken us more than fifty years to realize that function, the real function of the U.N. And at this moment in history - the United Nations is at the center of the stage. It is the place where these conversations are happening, and it has become in these last months and weeks, the most powerful governing body on earth, the most powerful container for the world's effort to wage peace rather than war. Dr. Muller was almost in tears in recognition of the fulfillment of this dream.

We are not at war, he kept saying. We, the world community, are WAGING peace. It is difficult, hard work. It is constant and we must not let up. It is working and it is an historic milestone of immense proportions. It has never happened before - never in human history - and it is happening now - every day, every hour - waging peace through a global conversation. He pointed out that the conversation questioning the validity of going to war has gone on for hours, days, weeks, months and now more than a year, and it may go on and on. We're in peacetime,he kept saying. Yes, troops are being moved. Yes, warheads are being lined up. Yes, the aggressor is angry and upset and spending a billion dollars a day preparing to attack. But not one shot has been fired. Not one life has been lost. There is no war. It's all a conversation.

In the process,
he pointed out, new alliances are being formed. Russia and China on the same side of an issue is unprecedented. France and Germany working together to wake up the world to a new way of seeing the situation. The largest peace demonstrations in the history of the world are taking place - and we are not at war! Most peace demonstrations in recent history took place when a war was already waging, sometimes for years, as in the case of Vietnam.

"So this,"
he said, "is a miracle. This is what "waging peace " looks like.

Friday, March 14, 2003

I'VE BEEN LISTENING TO.... Music: A Good Tip for a Good Time

The Cato Salsa Experience is the disk most often jammed into my CD player these days. A garage band from Oslo (of all places), this retro sound is so danceable I can't stop listening to it. You can check out the song "The Circus is Back in Town" on the Amazon link above. They also have another cut called "Lucky Girl" that is a killer - I defy you not to tap your foot, if not jump out of your chair and start dancing! If I can ever get the new Blogger audio link to work, I may even post a little bit as an MP3 here.

I'VE BEEN READING..... Editorial Reviews: If a Place Can Make You Cry: Dispatches from an Anxious State
Could it be that there is something so subtle, so magical, so intoxicating-and so dangerous-about this land that it leads parents to willingly sacrifice their children?

In 1998 Rabbi Gordis accepted a one-year sabbatical in Jerusalem, moving his wife and three children from Los Angeles. When they arrived, there was great hope in Israel that a lasting peace was finally being achieved. Things quickly deteriorated, however, and they found themselves (and their children) living in the middle of escalating violence. Amazingly, they decided to stay - they realized that they had never felt such a sense of "home" anywhere. And, despite the danger, they were captivated by the experience of living in the Jewish homeland. Gordis is a moderate - uncomfortable with the Zionist views his children are learning at school, and volunteering in Palestinian refugee camps. His voice is clear and honest, and presents a fresh point of view. I came away with a much clearer understanding of how complex the situation in Israel really is. We hear so many voices dictating "what the Israelis must do" or "what Arafat must do" to achieve peace. Seeing life through Gordis's eyes, it will never seem quite so cut and dry again. This book is a very readable way to dig for a deeper understanding of the current situation without being subjected to the rigid rhetoric that's so often present from both sides of the conflict.

My daughter Julia gave me this book for Christmas. She did the research on and decided this was something I would be interested in. She was right. I was captivated.

We're heading for a very close vote in the U.S. Senate regarding whether or not to allow drilling for oil in Alaska. The integrity of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is at stake. This is the moment to let your senator know how you feel about the drilling. {alternative energy source development, hello?!} If, like me, you live in New York State, you can write to our senators at:
Senator Schumer Website: Contact
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton: Contacting My Offices

Monday, March 10, 2003

Seems to me there are two countries defying the United Nations - the U.S. and Iraq. I don't understand why we think it's ok to blithely undermine the UN's authority. It pains me to see it.

I take consolation in the fact that the 2004 election is merely months away. So many dissenting voices now. Let's hope they're still there and that people continue their activism, when election time rolls around. We're going to need it to defeat George W. Bush. Though he's an intellectual lightweight and has proven himself to be clumsy and inept as a world leader, he has a powerful machine behind him. Democratic candidates and voters have been non-factors in the previous two election cycles. We (the voters) are going to have to step up, be active and be counted if this is going to change.


Friendship and Rivalry

Julia and I saw the Matisse-Picasso exhibit on Saturday. Despite the crowds, it was possible to spend thoughtful time in each section. People, for the most part, were considerate and patient. As usual, I paid five dollars for a headset to listen to commentary from the art historians, and then wondered why I had done so. The talking keeps me from being able to see and feel. I know this - I should quit worrying about not having the "technical" background to appreciate what I am seeing (the insecurity that makes me succumb each time) and trust my eyes and instincts to take it in. Anything I need to know I can read in the book later. You'd think I would know by now.

It is a stunning exhibit. Full of masterpieces that you know well and can't believe you're seeing with your own eyes...but also sprinkled with delicacies from private collections that I've never seen before.

It was so interesting to see Matisse's masterpiece "Nasturiums with 'Dance" II" (the blue painting with four dancers linked in a circle) juxtaposed with Picasso's "The Three Dancers." Of course, the Matisse is stunning - brilliant composition, and a sense of floating airiness that draws the viewer in. The Picasso, while not strictly a cubist work, is dominated by cubist/surrealist qualities. As such, it felt heavy and encumbered next to the effervescence of the Matisse - Picasso's big feet have never looked so clunky! Yet for me, the sense of joy in Picasso's three dancers leaps out of the frame. While the Matisse's dancers are classically beautiful, the raw energy of the Three Dancers is literally bursting out of the canvas. At least, for me.

I saw a painting that I'd never seen before - Picasso's "Nude in a Black Armchair" - from a private collection (unnamed). So few lines, and so bold - and she is so beautiful. And, for the record, I am in love with Picasso's "The Studio at 'La Californie'" - I wish I could live with this painting.

Julia was drawn to a Matisse called "Portrait of Mlle Yvonne Landsberg." It is in no way a typical Matisse - it is done in shades of black, grey and straw - and quite abstract. Of course, it's not a commercially appealing Matisse - no way there would be a poster. Too bad - Jules would have loved to have had it to hang in her room. Her takeaway from the exhibit? She prefers Matisse - problem with Picasso's cubist work - but thinks that in general Picasso's eyes are "much warmer." Even though she is only 11, her artist's eye reveals new information to me.

The exhibition ends with an affecting Matisse quote, painted on the wall. (I'm paraphrasing) We must talk to one another often. For after one of us dies, there will be many things the other can talk to no one else about.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Fred Rogers R.I.P.

Chris came home from the SNL rehearsals tonight and said that they're rehearsing a skit with Horatio. He comes out and says "We lost a good friend this week, and I just want to sing this song." And then he sings Fred Roger's song "You're Special." Chris said it's really touching...which means it probably won't make the show. I hope it does. Mr. Rogers was totally inclusive, and his world always visibly included all children. It would be lovely to have Horatio acknowledge that.

It's funny. I never liked "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" as a television show -- too sappy for me. Julia didn't either. She'd say "Mommy, I don't like Mr. Neighborhood," when I tried to get her to watch it. But, then I went out on the 1992 PBS press tour (promoting "Ghostwriter") with Fred Rogers. He was incredibly moving talking to grownups about nurturing the littlest children. He'd say "All they want to do is please you. Be gentle. Be encouraging. Help them please you."

And, I remember when the Oklahoma City bombing happened. Julia was still little, and I was in Denver on a business trip. Watching all those horrible images of dead babies being carried out of the rubble, and feeling panicked and sick that I wasn't home. Then, Mr. Rogers was interviewed by CNN about what to say to your kids about what they were seeing. In that homespun, simple voice he said "'s what my mother always said to me. 'Look at the bad thing that person did. But, look at all the good people helping.' "

Rest in peace, Mr. Rogers.

Shock and Awe

"Shock and Awe" as our strategy in Iraq. See my post of 2/25/03 on this subject. We should be ashamed.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

How to Lose Friends and Not Influence People

George Bush is a Harvard MBA, and when he was first elected we heard a lot of spin about the advantages having a "CEO President" managing the country's business. In fact, his handling of the approach to war in Iraq, from the standpoint of getting business done, is shockingly inept. A successful CEO can't get the job done by constantly insisting that everyone do it his way. Imagine, if you were trying to write an order, and your only justification to customers as to why they should buy is "because I'm telling you that it's really, REALLY important that you buy this product!" That sort of approach is very unlikely to generate a sale. In fact, a successful business executive, trying to write that order, would focus on the needs of the person that he is selling to. What are the challenges that person is facing in his or her business? What benefit does my product provide that is relevant to that person's business? The most successful business deals and long-term business relationships are initiated by executives who are acutely aware of where the "win" is for all parties involved.

This is the sort of experience that I would have hoped our "CEO President" would bring to his presidency. Instead, he has managed to rally world opinion behind Saddam Hussein. Worse yet, the United States, in a recent international public opinion poll, is being viewed as a more serious threat than North Korea or Iraq. Shortly after the worldwide anti-war demonstrations, I listened to an NPR interview with Lord GEORGE ROBERTSON, the NATO Secretary-General. He is British, and was very clear in supporting the U.S. position while avoiding the sort of bullying rhetoric that we hear out of Washington. Lord Robertson's point was that the world must stand up to Saddam Hussein in order to protect the authority and integrity of the United Nations. As he put it: European leaders have got to explain that the reputation and the credibility of the United Nations is on the line. Resolution 1441 told Saddam to disarm and to prove to the inspectors that he had disarmed. So much more has to be done by European leaders to outline how much is at stake in this present confrontation...(they must) calmly explain to the Europeans how dangerous it would be if Saddam Hussein was to flout the will of the United Nations.

Now there is an argument that unites all of us. It is rooted in the common interest, and it does not assume that going to war is the only possible outcome. How come our Harvard MBA doesn't know how to build consensus like this? It's Business 101, in terms of getting what you need done.